Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask, part 6
Former Christian turned atheist DaGoodS (DGS) has compiled a list of eleven questions that he doesn’t think Christians can answer. I’ve decided to take him on, since I’m a sucker for questions that Christians supposedly can’t answer. Hopefully, DGS and I can learn something from each other.
Question #6, the most foolishly misguided question, is:
If God lied, how would you know?
For some reason, atheists treat faith as a foul word that rivals the f-bomb for words that shouldn’t be used in civil conversation. This is because they are seriously misguided as to what it means.
Here are some skeptical examples representative of how they typically define the concept of faith:
- Voltaire: “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”
- Nietzsche: “Faith: not wanting to know what is true.”
- Henry Ward Beecher: “Faith is spiritualized imagination.”
- George Seaton: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
- Even Ben Franklin had issues with faith! He said, “To Follow by faith alone is to follow blindly;” and “The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.”
- Mason Cooley deserves the last word here: “Ultimately, blind faith is the only kind.”
These quotes show us that the atheist believes faith is belief without evidence, or despite all the evidence. That’s not true! D. Elton Trueblood has the real definition of faith: “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” J.P. Holding develops the idea of faith as trust in this must-read article.
Once you realize that faith isn’t a blind step in the dark, taken for no rhyme or reason, then you can understand that the answer to this question is a matter of faith. Faith is trust placed in one who deserves that trust.
As Christians, we have faith in God, and we have faith in the Bible since the Bible is an accurate revelation of God’s character and mission. Indeed, they are one-in-the-same revelation. The Scriptures affirm that God cannot (will not?) lie (Num 23:19; Tts 1:2; Heb 6:18; 1 Jn 1:5).
Having faith in God means having faith that the inspiration of the Scriptures is accurate, and what is in the Scriptures is an accurate representation of the character of God. The Scriptures are clear that God doesn’t lie.
What this means is that there’s no need to consider how to know if God has lied or not. He’s not going to. It’s a moot point.
Posted on January 14, 2011, in Apologetics, God, Sin, Theology and tagged atheism, Christianity, faith, God, Sin, Worldview. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.
You didn’t answer the question. You said that you have trust(faith) that Yahweh would not lie.
I could say the same thing about Ganesh, or about my boyfriend. But me putting my trust in these people doesn’t restrict their possible actions.
Like Boz said. You didn’t answer the question. Sure you hope God doesn’t lie—but you don’t know. Relying on something you think he said is a bit silly—if he is a liar, he could have lied about it!
Then why does that description fit so well to the examples of faith that are continually presented?
Ben, maybe Cory Tucholski should have said:
“These quotes show us that the atheist believes faith is belief without evidence, or despite all the evidence. That’s not true for me.”
You can’t expect someone(Cory Tucholski) to answer questions about the beliefs of others.
Using the Humpty Dumpty defense doesn’t help reasoned discussion. I hope Cory wouldn’t be that disingenuous.
Ben Finney, I hadn’t seen the humpty dumpty defence before, thanks for showing it to me.
In general though, I agree with humpty, that we can use whatever definition we want, as long as it is stated up-front. It aids communication. Saying: “No, no, you can’t use that definition” is an intransigent conversation-stopper. We should be genrous by being flexibile with definitions.
What do you think?
Of course there will be individual counterexamples, such as using ‘house’ to mean ‘horse’.
If the term already has an established meaning, it doesn’t aid communication to deny that meaning when using the term. It is counter to smooth communication to do that.
As is the silly re-defining of words to mean whatever Humpty Dumpty wants them to mean.
Here’s a useful article showing the different ways the term “faith” is used. It’s fine to be specific about which meaning one is using, but it’s not fine to say that an established meaning for the term is “not true”.
And it’s especially slippery to be non-specific about which meaning one is using, and shift unannounced between meanings during the discussion as it suits one’s rhetoric.
I will be more precise in terminology, as I’ve indicated in the comments to this post.